It wasn’t meant to be like that:
You launched the first Facebook Ad and jumped right to Analytics – the traffic was about to start rolling.
But … there was nothing.
Each hour passing brought only a trickle of visitors.
And no sales.
What the – ?
But you already rock Adwords.
Your ads drive traffic willing to kill to hit the “buy now” button.
So why such a fail on Facebook?
I’m going to let you onto a secret:
It’s because Facebook Ads is NOT Adwords.
The Two Platforms Only Seem Alike
In a nutshell, Google and Facebook’s advertising platforms look similar:
- Both allow placing ads to attract traffic.
- Offer access to large audiences.
- And allow some form of targeting to increase the advertising relevancy.
To succeed on Facebook you have to forget many things that helped you succeed on Google.
Here are the most important ones:
1. Stop Focusing on the Buying Intent
The biggest difference between Google and Facebook Ads is the way you target the audience.
On Google, you specifically seek out and target a buying intent:
- You perform a thorough keywords research to discover phrases with a commercial intent,
- Analyze various metrics to discover conversional and transactional keywords,
- Optimize ads to respond to a need based on the buying intent and,
- Bid a specific amount to position an ad as high as possible for those phrases.
Google in turn, displays your ad every time a person types in that specific query into the search box.
And thus a connection is made.
Google’s users’ behavior is different too:
Customers use the search engine to find a specific product or service. And they will respond only if the information they’re presented with is relevant.
Displaying ads that match that need and expectation is therefore one of Adwords’ best practices.
But Facebook works on a different premise:
- There are no keywords,
- Users don’t search for products or services and,
- Show no buying intent.
Facebook shows ads based on a user’s demographics and interests.
On Facebook, you advertise to people who aren’t actively looking for your products:
They catch up with friends, post updates, like other posts, comment or chat.
And thus they might only happen to see your ad when it passes through their news stream.
Therefore, to succeed in generating interest and income from Facebook ads, you need to stop thinking buying intent and start thinking:
You need to understand your target audience.
Even though Google allows some demographics targeting, your main focus is on keywords with commercial intent. With the right keywords you can quickly attract the right traffic and generate sales from Adwords ads.
On Facebook however, you need to be laser-focused on the audience that’s most likely to be attracted to your product.
One way to achieve it is by creating a buyer persona –
“A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” (Hubspot).
Buyer personas will help you to identify your target audience’s characteristics, demographics and interests you’ll be able to use to target them with Facebook ads.
Think of personas as your keyword research – the more you know about your audience, their likes, dislikes and other characteristics, the more focused you can in your advertising.
- RevenueBuilderBlog has a useful guide to building content personas specifically for B2C markets.
- Buffer also posted a massive beginners tutorial on creating buyer personas for advertising. Go check it out.
2. Don’t Treat Ads as Just the Copy
Take a look at a typical Adwords ad:
It’s nothing more but text.
Sure, some ads might include star ratings, for instance. But in most cases it’s the copy that does all the selling.
A typical Adwords ad includes such elements as:
- Headline – designed to attract attention and confirm that what the ad relates to is relevant to the searcher’s need.
- URL that you can customize to further reassure a searcher about the ad’s relevancy,
- Key selling points, typically spread across two lines of text,
- [Optional] – Sitelinks pointing a searcher directly to pages of interest and more.
Given its text only format, to attract attention Adwords ads should also include other cues:
- Trigger words – words and phrases customers tend to respond to well in relation to advertising.
- A USP – a unique selling proposition, a promise about the product, service or buying experience that makes this particular source, an online store for instance, different from others.
- Call to action enticing searchers to act now.
- An offer attracting them to the ad and much more.
Facebook Ads, on the other hand can include other media: images, video.
And you could use them to improve your ads’ click-through rate (CTR).
4 years ago, a research project conducted by eBay confirmed that:
- Images impact the click-through rate. According to the research, good quality images attract more clicks whereas poor quality photography in advertising deters users from clicking an ad.
- There are certain image elements guaranteed to increase or decrease CTR.
Therefore, instead of focusing on copy alone, you should pay equal attention to images you display in Facebook Ads.
Here are some of the best practices to follow:
- Use images with only a handful of clearly visible elements.
- Make the product a complete focus.
- Use people in close-ups, showing emotions.
- Make viewers follow the line of sight.
- Top Facebook Ads Best Practices (AdEspresso)
- 9 Secrets the Pros Use to Create Great Facebook Ad Designs (AdEspresso)
- Your First Facebook Ad – The Creative (AdEspresso)
- 6 Facebook Ad Image Best Practices that will Send your Click-Through-Rate to the Moon (Wishpond)
- How to Create Successful Facebook News Feed Ads (Social Media Examiner)
3. Take Control of the Ad Placement
Believe it or not but it’s Google that controls where your ad’s displayed.
Sure, you can push your ad to the top of search results by increasing your bid. But even with that, your ad’s placement isn’t 100% up to you.
On Facebook however, you could place your ad in 5 different places:
- Two in the right column on desktop,
- Two placements on mobile – in the mobile newsfeed and mobile apps and,
- One in the desktop’s News Feed.
(Desktop News Feed – image courtesy of Facebook)
(Mobile newsfeed – image courtesy of Facebook)
(Desktop right column – image courtesy of Facebook)
And needless to say, each of these placements delivers different CTR.
When setting up your ad, you can select what placement you prefer your ad to show in. And with that, you can experiment with different placements to find the one that works for you.
In one test, AdEspresso discovered that ads placed in the right column were the most effective for campaigns targeting larger audiences.
When targeting a smaller customer groups (via Custom Audience or Interest Intersection, for instance), that placement performed poorly.
Mobile newsfeed on the other hand delivered constant results across all tests.
- Facebook Ads Bidding 101 (AdEspresso)
- Facebook Right-Hand Column Ads Aren’t Dead Yet! Here’s Why (AdEspresso)
4. You’re Not Advertising Only to Sell
The primary aim of advertising in Adwords is to sell.
Facebook ads on the other hand are equally great to drive product or brand awareness and promote it to a highly targeted group of people.
Adwords is useful when you target searchers with a very focused buying mindset. They seek a very specific solution and your aim is to position your company as a solution provider.
But Facebook, with its focus on demographic and interest targeting is ideal for generating awareness about you product or brand – often to people who might not even know it exists.
And that’s for a number of reasons:
Facebook gives you highly powerful targeting options
The social network knows its users better than anyone else. It knows their age, gender, interests, likes, dislikes and behavior. And it enables you to target people based on these and many other characteristics.
Facebook allows you to advertise to people who might already know you too. Custom Audiences tool allows you to create a list of people to target with advertising based on list of emails, Facebook IDs or phone numbers.
You can use Custom Audiences to reconnect with stale customers or reward your best buyers.
Similarly, you can create a list of people who share the same characteristics as your top customers and might be likely to be interested in your products or services.
- The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Custom Audiences (AdEspresso eBook)
- Everything you need to know about Facebook Ads Custom Audiences (AdEspresso)
5. Don’t Expect Results Right Away
The biggest advantage of using Adwords is that it can drive targeted almost right away.
Facebook Ads on the other hand might take longer to generate results.
Therefore, when advertising on Facebook you should focus on long-term goals instead of hoping for a quick sale.
Most users are not going to click on an ad first time they see it.
Since they don’t know you, they need to develop trust through interactions with the brand – ad exposure etc. After seeing the ad for few times, your audience is going to get more familiar with the brand or product and might be likely to click.
You should however pay attention to your ads frequency not to overdo it.
- The Beginners Guide to Facebook Advertising (AdEspresso)
- Facebook Ads Suicide: 6 Deadly Errors to Avoid (AdEspresso)
Adwords and Facebook Ads may seem alike.
In reality however both platforms are different. To succeed with Facebook Advertising you first need to forget (almost) everything that helped you succeed on Google.